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Horticulture Science Lesson 23 Understanding Soil Formation.

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1 Horticulture Science Lesson 23 Understanding Soil Formation

2 Interest Approach Ask two students to sit or stand in front of the class. Ask the class if the students are exactly the same. Responses should be a resounding “No!” Ask the class what makes the students different from each other. One of the first responses should be that they have different parents. Relate this to different parent materials of soils. An additional answer should be that students have grown up in different environments and have different experiences.

3 Interest Approach Relate this to different environments in which soils develop. You may even wish to ask students to think about identical twins that may have been separated as youngsters. As adults, there will be differences between them. Explain that even though the twins have the same genetic makeup, they have experienced different environments and situations. Relate the same concept to soil development.

4 Student Learning Objectives Identify five factors involved in soil formation. Describe different types of parent material.

5 Student Learning Objectives Explain topography and how it affects soil formation. Assess the impact of organisms on soil development.

6 Student Learning Objectives Describe how time and weathering affect properties of soil. Examine how climate affects the development of soil.

7 Terms alluvium bedrock chemical weathering climate glacial till glacier loess native vegetation

8 Terms organic soils outwash parent material physical weathering prairie soils timber soils topography

9 What are five different factors that affect soil formation? Five primary factors affect the process of soil formation and development. 1. Parent material is the type of rock material from which the soil is formed. 2. Topography involves the slope characteristics of the soil.

10 What are five different factors that affect soil formation? 3. Living organisms are the organisms, including plant material, that live within the soil. 4. Time or weathering involves the age of the soil and its climate. 5. Climate involves the temperature and moisture characteristics of the area in which the soil was formed.

11 What are some different types of parent material that affect soils? Parent materials are formed by the disintegration and decomposition of rock. They are classified according to the way they were moved and scattered.

12 What are some different types of parent material that affect soils? Most soils in Illinois have been formed from material originally moved by glaciers. A glacier is a large, long-lasting river of ice that is formed on land and moves in response to gravity. –Two major glaciers, the Illinoisan and the Wisconsinan, had the greatest influence on present day soils in Illinois.

13 What are some different types of parent material that affect soils? –The Illinoisan glacier occurred thousands of years before the Wisconsinan glacier and covered nearly the entire state. –Later, the Wisconsinan glacier covered slightly more than the northeastern third of Illinois. –Soils in southern Illinois are much older and less productive than those in northern Illinois. –Soils of glacial origin are classified as loess, outwash, or glacial till.

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15 What are some different types of parent material that affect soils? About 64% of the soil in Illinois has been formed from loess. It has developed some of the best soil in the state. Loess occurred from the blowing of the soil after the glaciers melted and dried. Loess is the most desirable single soil parent material due to its well-balanced mineral content, medium texture, and excellent water-holding capacity.

16 What are some different types of parent material that affect soils? About 16% of the soil in Illinois has been formed from outwash. It is most extensive in northern Illinois. Outwash soils occurred when the glaciers melted. The melted waters carried the gravelly materials away to be deposited below the glacial ridges. Sandy outwash was carried further downstream and the finer materials, silt and clay, were deposited in lakebeds or slow-moving water along streams.

17 What are some different types of parent material that affect soils? About 11% of the soil in Illinois is from glacial till. It is found primarily in northeastern Illinois and often contains a variety of sizes of soil particles. These soil particles have not been layered from the effects of wind or water as the other two types of glacial soils. Pebbles and various sizes of boulders are common in till.

18 What are some different types of parent material that affect soils? About 7% of the soil in Illinois is a result of recent sediments deposited by streams as they flood and is referred to as alluvium. Alluvium is generally a waterborne material deposited on bottomlands.

19 What are some different types of parent material that affect soils? Most of the shale, sandstone, or limestone bedrock in Illinois is buried by loess, glacial till, outwash, or alluvium. However, in the unglaciated areas of northwestern and extreme southern Illinois, weathered bedrock has provided soil parent material. About 2% of the soils in Illinois can be accounted from bedrock or thinly covered bedrock.

20 What are some different types of parent material that affect soils? Less than 1% of the soils in Illinois are classified as organic. Organic soils occur where formerly shallow ponds supported swamp vegetation. The wet conditions slowed decay of the dead plants so that organic matter could accumulate. The two types of organic soils are referred to as peat and muck. Muck is more decomposed than peat.

21 What is topography and how does it affect the development of soil? Topography refers to the slope characteristics of a soil. It includes the degree or steepness, length, shape, and direction of a slope. These factors influence the amount of rainwater runoff, or the amount that enters the soil or collects in small depressions on the soil surface.

22 What is topography and how does it affect the development of soil? Soils on steep slopes have higher amounts of runoff and erosion than those on level topography. The amount of moisture in the soil during its development affects the rate of weathering and the development of subsoil colors. Soils in depressions and on nearly level topography are likely to have poor or very poor natural drainage. Soils on moderately sloping to steep topography are usually well drained.

23 How do living organisms affect the development of soil? Organisms that live in soil (i.e., plants, insects, and microbes) actively affect soil formation. The greatest affect on the development of soil is from plants that once grew in it, which is referred to as native vegetation and determines the kind and amount of organic matter in the soil.

24 How do living organisms affect the development of soil? In Illinois, two primary types of native vegetation exist: tall prairie grass and deciduous-hardwood forests. –These areas are known as prairie soils and timber soils. 1. Prairie soils have a dark and deep surface layer because roots from the prairie grass filled the top of the soil to a depth of one to two feet or more. –Partial decay of these roots over a long period of time gave these soils high organic matter content.

25 How do living organisms affect the development of soil? 2. Timber soils tend to have a thin, moderately dark layer due to organic matter accumulating on the surface where decay occurs more rapidly. –When tilled, this dark material is mixed with the soil below to produce a lighter color. Other living matter that influences the development of soil includes various kinds of animal life (i.e., earthworms, crawfish, ground squirrels, and various insects that incorporate organic matter into the soil).

26 What is weathering? How do time and weathering affect soil? There are two types of weathering. 1. Physical weathering is caused by the effects of climatic factors (e.g., temperature, water, and wind). –Freezing and thawing are major contributors to physical weathering. 2. Chemical weathering changes the chemical makeup of rock and breaks it down. –Rainwater is mildly acidic and can slowly dissolve many soil minerals. –Some minerals react with oxygen in the atmosphere. Oxidation further acts to decompose rock.

27 What is weathering? How do time and weathering affect soil? Weathering causes soil to develop, mature, and age. 1. Developing occurs rapidly. Plant nutrients are released, and organic matter accumulates. –Soils will develop faster in humid regions than in arid regions. 2. When mature, soil is at peak productivity with a high amount of organic matter. –Water begins leaching away nutrients and plant growth starts to decline, which results in less organic matter. 3. As soil ages, minerals continue to break down and clay is leached into the subsoil. –The soil becomes lighter in color from less organic matter.

28 How does climate affect soil development? Climate refers to rainfall, freezing, thawing, wind, and sunlight. These factors are either directly or indirectly responsible for the breakdown of rocks and minerals, the release of plant nutrients, and many other processes affecting the development of soils. The climate in Illinois is said to be of the continental type. It is characterized by hot summers and cold winters.

29 How does climate affect soil development? This climate enhances the weathering process through freezing and thawing. Rainfall during the growing season is similar across the state; however, southern Illinois receives more rainfall during the winter and early spring. Soils in humid regions are subject to more leaching than soils in dry regions. Rainfall wears the rock away a little at a time. Wind also wears the rock away.

30 Review/Summary What are five different factors that affect soil formation? What are some different types of parent material that affect soils?

31 Review/Summary What is topography and how does it affect the development of soil? How do living organisms affect the development of soil?

32 Review/Summary What is weathering? How do time and weathering affect soil? How does climate affect soil development?


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